Or part 2 of our Christmas break We spent New Year’s eve with friends of Paul in Southampton, which was really fun! Some photos of that can be found here and here. As the weather forecast was looking promising, we had booked 3 nights in a really nice cottage near Charmouth, on the Dorset coast just after New Year. The cottage was a converted barn, I loved it!! The photo below gives an impression of the cottage inside and outside, and some of the views. Can I live there?
We woke up to a sunny day, and drove to Seatown (not to be confused with Seaton, not very far away and also on the coast…), a small village right on the coast with access to the beach. It’s so beautiful there… the sand is a golden colour and there are steep cliffs next to the beach. But the reason people come here are the fossils! This part of the Dorset coast is nicknamed The Jurassic Coast, and is geologically really interesting. The cliffs you can see in the photo below (especially on the right) used to be the bottom of the sea, and are made of a sort of clay in which lots of fossils formed. The cliffs are continuously eroding, and it’s quite easy to find fossils.
Below you can see an example of a belemnite, a sort of squid (extinct now). The bit you find is the back part of their shell, which is shaped like a bullet. Some of them are crystallised very nicely!
Another common fossil that can be found here is the ammonite. I found the one in the photo on the left! It’s quite large, about 10 cm diameter. In the other photo Paul is trying to get a similar one out.
We had a really fun day searching for fossils, I was so fascinated by it! To finish our day, we climbed up to the Golden Cap, the highest clifftop (191 m) on the south coast of England, to watch the sunset – beautiful!
The next day we explored a different part of the coast, starting from Lyme Regis. The beach is very different here. At first it was rocky, until you get to this flat rock platform called a “wave cut platform”. There are some big holes in it that look like dinosaur footsteps
In the photo below you can see what the platform is really made of – LOTS and LOTS of ammonite fossils! They are very worn down, but it’s impressive to see so many! Further on you can find very large ones on rocks on the beach. Very impressive!
Just to give you a sense of scale, here’s one with my foot in it. Also showing how incredibly muddy my boots were from the previous day!
The next day it was time to head back… but as it was another beautiful day, we decided to take the scenic route home and see a bit more of the coast. Our first stop was Chesil Beach, a very long (30 km!) beach that is actually separated from the mainland. You can see it in the panorama below, taken from a viewpoint on the road.
The beach is made up of small stones and it’s tough walking on it. We walked back further inland, through very high reeds, with nice views of a ruin in the fields (the same one you can also see in the panorama above).
We then continued to Durdle Door, a famous rock arch. The coast there is spectacular!
We spent quite a lot of time here, and I couldn’t stop taking photos. The beach has a beautiful colour and it was just before sunset with very soft light.
A last view of the beach before leaving…
We drove the short distance to Lulworth Cove, just in time to watch the sunset. The rock formations are impressive, you can see all the layers. The second photo shows the village of West Lulworth, a nice little village!
This is the actual cove, or rather the entrance to it. The cove was formed when this entrance collapsed a long time ago, and let the sea come in.
And then it was time to drive back… It was a really beautiful trip! I’ve been wanting to see this part of the coast for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint